The Rutgers men's basketball staff has been recruiting very hard this week, making more than a dozen offers to recruits from the class of 2017 and beyond. However, today they landed a huge commitment for next season.
San Jacinto College (TX) JUCO PF Candido Sa has committed to Rutgers, per a source. Shoes Vetrone connection was key.— RHoops247 (@RHoopsRecruits) April 28, 2016
Sa is a 6'9" power forward who played at San Jacinto Community College in California. He is originally from Lisbon, Portugal. In his sophomore season at San Jacinto, Sa averaged 9.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.8 blocks per game. He finished 2nd in the country for JUCO players in block shots. His defensive presence around the rim is a major need for Rutgers and head coach Steve Pikiell found his man. Sa is also said to have the ability to stretch the opposing defense with his mid-to-long range jumper.
San Jacinto coach Scott Gerander on Candido Sa who is eligible now at Rutgers: 'he's a 5/4 that can stretch the D with a good stroke from 3'— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 28, 2016
He is full of potential and has two years of eligibility remaining. Sa will be eligible for next season and will join a frontcourt that includes Deshawn Freeman, Ibrahima Diallo, Shaq Doorson, and Jonathan Laurent.
Another impressive fact about Rutgers landing Sa is that he was scheduled to visit Texas and head coach Shaka Smart this weekend. Texas had met with him last week before scheduling his once impending visit, and Pittsburgh was trying to schedule a visit with him as well. Instead, Sa decided to commit to Rutgers instead of taking those visits, resulting in a huge win on the recruiting trail for coach Pikiell and his staff. Sa visited Rutgers two weekends ago and the staff made him a priority since, paying off with his commitment today.
This recruiting win demonstrates Pikiell's ability to close recruits out, which will be a major key in beating out more successful programs for top players in the beginning of his tenure. To get his first big win against Shaka Smart and Texas, as well as the new regime at Pittsburgh, signals some serious recruiting chops. Greg "Shoes" Vetrone had the connection to Sa, so Pikiell finding a role to keep him on the staff is already paying dividends.
Actually Greg 'Shoes' Vetrone was the point man on Candido Sa and @CoachPikiell saw him at San Jacinto.— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) April 28, 2016
Sa joins New Jersey first team all-state guard Matt Bullock and most likely Issa Thiam, as commits for next season. Thiam reopened his recruitment after committing under Eddie Jordan, but the thought is he will ultimately sign with Rutgers. With the expected return of Corey Sanders, this would leave Rutgers with three open scholarships for next season.